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Where is Linux's Answer to Microsoft's Small Business Server? - page 3

No Linux LAN Server

  • November 2, 2009
  • By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
The one Linux distributor that seems to be putting any real effort into the small business server space is Novell. That's no real surprise. Novell, whether it was pushing NetWare or Linux has always tried to work with small businesses.

Richard Lindstedt, senior solutions manager for Novell's collaboration solutions said that while "Linux is being used by many SMBs, although they are struggling trying to build their own solutions. There are some point players with packaged solutions, but they are often local and lack a channel."

That's exactly why we put NOWS SBE (Novell Open Workgroup Suite Small Business Edition) together. Not only is a a bundle of products that make up a desktop-to-server solution for SMBs. It also has simplified installation and management tools [such as Novell's ZENworks] to make it deadly simple for SMBs to get going."

Novell, although a Microsoft partner, isn't afraid to go head to head with SBS. The company has a useful page which shows how NOWS SBE stacks up against Microsoft. Lindstedt concluded, "For those that want to try it out, an evaluation copy can be downloaded from our website. SMBs can also get in contact with a Novell reseller and get the Starter Pack, which includes 5 users for free."

That said, NOWS SBE isn't well-known, and other Linux distributors aren't pushing hard in this area. In addition, while there are many how-tos on putting together your own Samba or LDAP server, there's little on how to put together a complete small business server package using the already existing packages available in any Linux distribution. Perhaps someone will see the need for this and bring out more SMB-specific distributions and/or instructions on how to do it yourself. After all, in this economy, one would think that a free or inexpensive open-source answer to Microsoft's SBS 2008 could do very well indeed both for its makers and for small businesses.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been writing about technology and the business of technology since CP/M-80 was the operating system of choice for PCs and 2BSD Unix was what the cool kids used on their computers.

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